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Mitchell v. Rochester Railway Co.

Supreme Court of New York
45 N.E. 354 (1896)


Mitchell (plaintiff) was standing at a crosswalk in Rochester, New York (the city), waiting to board one of the city’s horse cars. As Mitchell was getting ready to step into a horse car, another horse car that was coming down the cross street turned and came very close to Mitchell, placing her between the heads of the two lead horses before coming to a stop. Mitchell fainted from fright and later testified that she suffered a miscarriage and illness as a result. Mitchell brought a civil claim for negligence against the city, arguing that the driver of the horse car was an agent of the city and that the city’s negligence had caused the fright that resulted in her injuries. At trial, medical testimony suggested that the shock of the event was sufficient to cause the miscarriage and illness claimed by Mitchell. The trial court found in favor of Mitchell. The city appealed the decision, arguing that Mitchell was not entitled to recover.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Martin, J.)

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